Odds and ends

A roundup of a few space tourism-related items from the last several days:

  • Wyle Labs Inc. is creating a new business unit “focusing on providing human spaceflight services to the emerging commercial ‘space tourist’ industry”. The Commercial Human Spaceflight Services unit, led by Vernon McDonald, will offer a variety of medical, training, and operations support services for vehicle operators and spaceports. Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal reports today that Wyle Labs is up for sale by the private-equity firm that holds a controlling interest in the company.
  • The San Antonio Express-News reports that the citizenry of Van Horn, Texas, is excited about the prospects of a Blue Origin spaceport near their community. The town is looking for an economic boost from Blue Origin, although only a couple dozen jobs are currently envisioned. Best quote is from Celeste Stokely,a native of Austin who attened the hearing there last week, trying to learn more about Blue Origin’s plans: “I’ve been reduced to reading the space blogs, but they are just guessing.” Well, we do our best.
  • Popular Science has posted the article from its latest issue about Rocketplane. Michael Belfiore provides some interesting, although not earth-shattering, details about Rocketplane’s development work, including some details about Polaris Propulsion, the company led by an ex-Rocketdyne engineer that is developing the AR-36 rocket engine that will eventually be used by Rocketplane.
  • The AP descibes how the early customers for Virgin Galactic and Rocketplane have taken on roles as “celestial missionaries” for those customers, selling the experience of suborbital spaceflight even before they’ve had a chance to fly.
  • Forbes.com (free registration required) interviews Brian Binnie about his suborbital flight on SpaceShipOne and his thoughts about the future. binnie expects progress to be “conservatively paced” since “no one has a business plan that can gracefully recover from a smoking hole in the ground” (although he believes the industry as a whole can survive an accident.) As for himself, “I’m not hanging around Mojave because I’m enamored with the scenery or with getting sand in my teeth. Let’s just say I’m very motivated to see that SS2 supports a business plan.”

1 comment to Odds and ends

  • […] The UK Space Biomedicine Group is holding is 3rd Space Medicine Conference on September 30-October 1 at the National Space Centre in Leicester. The penultimate panel of the conference, according to the program, will focus on “medical issues for space tourism”. The featured speakers include a doctor working for Virgin Galactic, Dr. Julia Tizard, and a representative from Wyle Labs, which recently established a new business unit focusing on space tourism services. […]

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